Acupuncture is done by inserting small needles into the skin of the patient. The purpose can be to give relief to pain (for example during a difficult birth) or as a proper treatment of a disease.
Acupuncture is also frequently used as a help to stop smoking and other addictions.
Acupuncture as a medical method originated in China many years ago, there are indications that this method has been used for over eight thousand years. It has over these many years primarily been practiced in China, Japan and Korea, whereas it is only recently that it has been recognized as a method within medicine in the USA and Europe.
However, today more and more doctors are recommending acupuncture as a treatment to cure some pain and/or other problems. But it is very rarely used as the only means, instead it is usually combined with some more recognized scientific medical treatments.
The original idea of acupuncture was based on the ancient Chinese perception of the body as a whole. The body was believed to have several different energy systems that were powered by different body organs. And illness was seen as a disturbance in the body's energy system, where something blocked the natural energy flow.
It could be pain that created the blockage, and in order to heal the illness (i.e. remove the blockage in the body) then acupuncture needles were inserted in the skin of body to unblock. Pain and blockage was perceived as very closely interrelated, and acupuncturists have an old saying: No pain, no blockage. No blockage, no pain. To put it very simple: If you stop the blockage, then your illness and pain will go away.
The big question is: Do you have to believe in acupuncture to make it work? Or rather, will it even work if the patient doesn't believe in it?
Well, this question is of course comparable to the test of any medicine, where the purpose of the test is to reveal whether the real medicine works better than a fake placebo medicine. Both groups of the patients who get the medicine or the placebo are being told that this product is the real thing, and then it is easy to see whether it is the medicine or the belief that cure the pain or disease.
It has been found that the acupuncture treatment of smokers to make them stop smoking had no effect on their smoking habits unless they were believers and motivated to put an end to the craving for smoke and nicotine. However, intense research during the 1950s and 1960s showed that acupuncture did have a proven effect when it was used along with standard modern medicine; and today the acceptance by doctors in the USA and in Europe is widespread.
Acupuncture as a medicine and pain killer is accepted by the patients too. And in particular many women, giving birth the natural way, prefer to get acupuncture as a pain relief instead of strong drug medicine that might be harmful to the baby.